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EPA kicks off midwest clean diesel leadership program

Release Date: 01/24/2007
Contact Information: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254,

No. 07-OPA013

CHICAGO (Jan. 24, 2007) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 hosted the first meeting of its Midwest Clean Diesel Leadership Group yesterday in Chicago. The group of 32 public-sector and private-industry organizations shares the goal of cutting emissions from one million diesel engines in the region by 2010.

The Leadership Group is co-chaired by Cummins Inc., Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Environmental Council and EPA Region 5.

"EPA helped form the Leadership Group to accelerate efforts toward cleaner air," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Mary A. Gade. "Cleaning up diesel emissions in this country will take a concerted, collaborative effort of public and private organizations, and this group will bring greater visibility, energy and resources to this effort."

"From schoolchildren to truck drivers, millions of Americans are exposed everyday to dangerous emissions from America's aging fleet of diesel-powered vehicles and heavy equipment," said Staci R. Putney McLennan, director of clean air programs at the Ohio Environmental Council. "The good news is that cost-effective pollution-control technologies are available. We look forward to collaborating with industry and government representatives to tackle this important challenge."

"We look forward to sharing the strategies and approaches we have used in Illinois with our colleagues from other Midwestern states," said Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott. "We are also interested in learning about strategies others have found effective, as well as how we all can maximize the clean air benefits from the ongoing technological advances."

"This initiative is about fostering a collaborative environment where we all work together for cleaner communities," said Brian Mormino, director of government relations for Cummins Inc. "Cummins is pleased to step forward with our public and private partners to lead this effort. We have made a significant investment to meet EPA's emissions standards for new engines and know that we can accomplish much more by leveraging our relationships to address those already in operation today."

EPA created the Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative to reduce emissions from older, existing diesel engines not covered by EPA's stringent standards for cleaner fuels and new, cleaner engines. MCDI estimates that more than 3 million diesel engines in the Midwest would benefit from the use of cleaner fuels and idle-reduction and diesel-retrofit technologies and strategies. These include rebuilding, re-powering, replacing, refueling and retrofitting these engines with emission control devices. Already, the public-private partnership has undertaken more than $30 million in projects, affecting 350,000 engines, and reducing air pollution by more than 3.5 million pounds per year.

Diesel emissions contain large amounts of nitrogen oxides and fine particles (soot). Nitrogen oxides are precursors of ozone (smog), which is a lung irritant, and fine particles can aggravate respiratory and heart diseases. EPA has found that fine particles from diesel engines are a leading public health risk in the Midwest.

More information on Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative and the MCDI Leadership Group is at


New clean diesel technology completely changes the way people view diesel. The Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative is taking the lead to increase the adoption of clean diesel technologies to dramatically reduce emissions by 90 percent in older trucks and buses.
Patrick Charbonneau, Vice President of Government Relations
International Truck and Engine Corporation

We are pleased and honored to be a part of this group and share its focus on partnership and real, measurable environmental and health outcomes for the region. This kind of recognition and support by EPA is especially critical for Minnesota proactively to stay ahead of air quality problems and to comply with all federal air quality standards. We applaud EPA's foresight and dedication in launching this comprehensive effort to address a major regional air quality problem like diesel emissions.
Bill Droessler, Clean Air Minnesota Director
Minnesota Environmental Initiative

As the crossroads of America, Indiana has a significant interest in improving air quality while facilitating the increased movement of goods necessary for our growing economy. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is honored to be part of the Midwest Clean Diesel Leadership Group. The initiative is an excellent example of a public/private partnership to harness the power of the marketplace to improve both the economy and the environment in Indiana and the entire Midwest.
Thomas Easterly, Commissioner
Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Our partners are making a difference in the Midwest in improving the quality of life by reducing air pollution.
Carl Lisek, South Shore Clean Cities Inc.

The diesel industry is proud to be an active participant in the Midwest Clean Diesel Leadership Group. The diversity of supporters stepping forward to join together for this program speaks volumes about the universal agreement that cleaner diesel means cleaner air for all of us, and the industry is committed to doing its part. Opportunities for upgrading the existing diesel fleet are now greater than ever, and diesel retrofit programs have proven time and again to be one of the most cost-effective ways we can reduce diesel emissions, help improve air quality and promote environmental progress.
Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director
Diesel Technology Forum

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recognizes the importance of cleaning up diesel emissions and working in partnership with businesses and stakeholders to voluntarily reduce diesel emissions with a number of actions. As a state focused on maintaining attainment of air quality standards, strategic partnerships are the focus for gaining air quality improvement. For example, as a major partner along with several businesses and stakeholder groups, the MPCA helped establish, promote and support Clean Air Minnesota's Project Green Fleet which will retrofit 500 diesel school buses, reducing harmful particulates 30 percent by the end of 2007.
David Thornton, Assistant Commissioner for Air Policy
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Continuing to release harmful diesel particulate matter into the air when available, cost-effective technologies can nearly eliminate this environmental health problem is unacceptable. The American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago is pleased to join the Midwest Clean
Diesel Group in its efforts to quickly reduce soot pollution in order to protect the most vulnerable populations: children with developing lungs, the elderly and those suffering from pulmonary diseases.
Brian Urbaszewski, Director of Environmental Health Programs
American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago

The American Lung Association supports the advancement and promotion of cleaner traditional and alternative fuels because the reduction in toxic petroleum components is good for lung health and the environment.
Harold Wimmer, President and CEO
American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest

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